New York City Council Votes Against Corporate Personhood, Citizens United

Missoula, Montana; Boulder, Colorado; and South Miami, Florida, have all done it, but you know it's really catching on when the Big Apple jumps on board. The New York City Council voted Wednesday to get rid of corporate personhood in a growing nationwide backlash against the much-maligned Citizens United ruling.

Passed on January 21, 2010, Citizens United gave corporations the same political rights as people, opening the door for nearly unlimited political spending on elections. Though there are boundaries keeping a candidate from receiving or soliciting money directly from a corporation, the shifting of the rules and the weaknesses of the Federal Election Commission make this increasingly difficult to enforce.

Critics, including those associated with the Occupy movement, see Citizens United as a danger to democratic values.

We “are expecting elected officials to heed the call for constitutional reform that makes clear that democracy is for people, not for corporations,” said Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer of Public Citizen's Democracy is for People Campaign.

New York City would be the second big city after Los Angeles, and New York would be at least the seventh state to take up a similar resolution, but it is likely to take movement in Congress to overturn the Supreme Court's decision on the case.

In 2011, four constitutional amendments to overturn the case were introduced. To pass, two-thirds of lawmakers in both houses must vote for the changes.

“People across the country are standing up to reclaim our democracy,” said Minkoff-Zern. “New York City should support this movement by passing this resolution.”